I have had a bike since I was 5 years old and was given a little red Schwinn with training wheels. Dad pushed for a bit one afternoon then I was gone. Next I had a black Schwinn Typhoon, still single speed with a coaster break. At 14 my folks bought a used blue Schwinn Varsity 10-speed from my cousin and I was off and spinning.
Even so, in my teens and 20s a bike was just something to carry me from place A to place B. What I LOVED was running. I ran as a football halfback in junior high and high school, and ran track during the same years, competing in the quarter mile, half mile, half mile relay and mile relay races. Made it to the Michigan state track finals one year, but just pack fodder. I didn’t care, I just loved the full-body running workout. In college I would go out and run, run, run to forget about homework, exams and working, and continued running all through my 20s.
In my early 30s I saw the writing on the wall, or rather, felt the pain in my legs. Because I never jogged, I ran, giddyup! It was just my style, and it had to end or my knees and ankles would be ground to nubs. That’s when I took up cycling in a dedicated fashion. The bike allowed me to giddyup without leg pain, for hours at a time.
But frankly, after all these years, as much as I love cycling, I still miss running. A shaded deer path through the forest on a hot summer day, wearing just a pair of lightweight Adidas, socks and shorts. Working up a head-to-toe sweat, stopping to pee and watching mosquitos biting my slick stomach muscles. Oh well, nevermore.